Should Teams & Leagues Actively Engage with Fans on Twitter?

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The other day I attended a web seminar about sports and in the end a tweeted out a thank you and some hashtags.

I was impressed that I got a response from the host of the seminar as well I engaged with few attendees. Their social media team knew that the piece was bound to get some traction, so they monitored the link (in all forms, long and shortened) and engaged with those who felt compelled to share the story. Basically, they were capitalizing on a new audience they had at the moment. Smart move.

It is proved, how important is to listen, engage, build and leverage relationships with your audience. Twitter is not just a platform to inform; it’s a community where teams and leagues need to engage. Researching about it, the result was:

I was surprised to find that less than 35% actively engage with fans (and most that do engage, do so sporadically). Practically, they are not so active or they do not pay too much attention with some exceptions like AS ROMA. I believe that it is a massive missed opportunity which can lead to acquire new fans.

So, why is important to respond and actively engage on Twitter?

1. Builds relationships, brand ambassadors and increases word of mouth.

Engaging on Twitter is not just about customer service. While customer service is a big aspect of fan engagement on Twitter, there’s also an opportunity to foster relationships, leverage and cultivate brand ambassadors on the platform.

When a team / league @replies to a fan on Twitter, they’re encouraging them to be brand ambassadors and igniting their passion. People who work in social media, underestimate what a brand reply means to a fan. To those in the industry, it’s just a person behind a computer screen doing their job; to others, a reply or mention from a brand can have a lasting impressing. A reply or mention to a fan is a public recognition and thank you, which only encourages them to tweet their love of the team / league even more. Hopefully, they will feel more compelled to spread the brand’s message too. Additionally, people often retweet brand responses and replies to them. This is a win-win situation, because nothing is more powerful than earned media and word of mouth in my opinion.

2. People expect it.

From a customer service point of view, studies have shown people expect a reply on Twitter. A survey done by Social Habit found that 32% of social media customers expect a response to their tweet or question to a brand in less than 30 minutes, and 42% expect a response within the hour regardless of the day or time.

3. Connect with untapped fans.

Social media managers can’t assume all their fans already follow their accounts or know where to find them. Teams and leagues need to seek out untapped fans on social media and engage with them. Capitalize on an untapped audience by monitoring the right keywords, links and hashtags and it is proved by the story above with the tweet. With each passing day, your team or league will build a more dedicated and engaged fanbase.

4. An engaging brand is a more likeable brand

According to IAB, 90% of consumers would recommend a brand to others after an interaction. Working for a consumer brand is different than working in sports biz, because sport industry is conisdered very disruptive. However, I think this statistic still has value for teams and leagues. If people like a team’s presence on social media, then I have to believe they’ll feel more compelled to share their message. Agree?

Now it’s your turn — do you think teams and leagues should actively engage on Twitter?

You can read more at our author’s blog here.

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